We bring a collective thirty-five years of experience as culture shifters, popular educators, and facilitators in multi-racial, multi-gender organizing spaces. We are Fat Queer Femmes based in New Orleans, where Mandisa is a sixth generation resident and Shana has lived ethically and responsibly for fourteen years. We have intentionally worked together for eleven years, guiding several organizations through moments of growth with our expertise in infrastructure strengthening, training, and equity work.
Together we've grown and sharpened our shared understanding of power, power dynamics, transformative justice, and working with communities to catalyze collective personal experiences into political praxis. Our praxis is rooted in Abolitionist, Black, Indigenous, Working-Class, Queer Feminist values, and supports our communities in getting stronger and doing better at transforming the oppressive material conditions we live in, to reflect a future in which we can thrive.
SOME IDEAS THAT GUIDE OUR WORK:
◈ We believe in the importance of visioning our work from a place of imagining what it means to be fully and naturally human, with abundant availability of the resources we need to actualize our visions.
◈ When navigating conflict, we look beyond dichotomies of “good/bad”, “right/wrong” and make room for nuances (including opposing truths).
◈ It is essential to not pretend to be neutral.
◈ Leaders who are committed to transparent and accountable authority lean into bravely embracing tensions as spaces that are generative rather than punitive.
◈ The transformative power of vulnerability becomes possible with principled boundaries.
◈ Hierarchy is not inherently oppressive.
◈ All groups function with an arrangement of power. To grow equity, it is necessary to assess how disparities show up in the ways power is distributed and "held."
◈ Healthy power-holding leans into imagination, including what we can learn from experimental models of leadership that have worked to subvert oppressive hierarchies.
◈ Healthy power-holding involves questioning how the needs and priorities of Black and Indigenous people of color, queer people, working-class and poor people, disabled people, immigrants, women, trans, and gender non-conforming people are impacted by decisions, policies, and ways of operating.
◈ Building strong systems of governance and infrastructure within movement organizations is essential to support our communities in gathering, strategizing, and organizing for our collective survival and capacity to thrive.
S. Mandisa Moore-O’Neal
is a Black feminist and founder of The Moore-O'Neal Law Group, LLC, a Black feminist law and policy practice. She is also a facilitator and thought partner for grassroots organizations, coalitions, and initiatives who are interested in transforming conflict and confronting and shifting power and oppression.
In 2012, Mandisa received her JD from Louisiana State University Law Center. In 2007, she was awarded a 2-year New Voices Gulf Coast Fellowship and in 2006 completed her undergraduate degree in History and Sociology at Loyola University New Orleans.
Mandisa’s primary organizing support work is as a proud member of the Black Youth Project100-New Orleans' chapter and an active member of the the Louisiana Coalition on Criminalization and Health. She works closely with Frontline Legal Services as their part-time Litigation and Advocacy Director. Mandisa also serves on the Political Research Associates Board of Directors and as Treasurer of the BreakOUT! Board of Directors.
To contact S. Mandisa Moore-O'Neal, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
works with groups to steward processes that map ways toward collective visions. She is the founder of Reflect & Strengthen, engaging multi-racial, working-class young women in cultural programming and grassroots organizing; the co-founder of BLOOM: A Creative Writing Retreat that Fosters Self-Actualization, working with Southern-based writers; and the co-founder of Black Swan, producing cultural events, food stories, and "defiant street food" pop-ups.
In recent years, Shana has served as Documentarian and Consultant Coordinator with Leveraging A Network for Equity (LANE), a national network addressing racial and geographic disparities in the arts & culture field; as a part of the Jaliyah Consulting facilitation team for Surdna Foundation’s 2019 Thriving Cultures Radical Imagination for Racial Justice Convening; as Logistics Coordinator for Gallery of the Streets, a network of artists, activists, scholars, and cultural workers aiming to “engage everyday spaces as sites of resistance;” and as co-facilitator for The Rest of the Story (alongside founder Michael MacDonald), a curriculum designed to help participants transform trauma to voice, agency, and leadership through story sharing.
In addition to current community writing projects Shana is organizing, she also serves as as Secretary for the United for a Fair Economy’s Executive Board; and as Directorial Strategic Advisor with Jaliyah Consulting. Shana has a Master's degree in Creative Writing (2017) and a Bachelor's degree in Critical Race, Class, and Gender studies (2012); both from Goddard College.
To contact Shana Turner, email: email@example.com